This week I've started to enforce the "idle-free zone" that is allegedly in effect at Harrington school, where I work. Really! I've knocked on several car windows and asked folks to shot off their engines if they were going to be waiting in the parking lot. I was motivated to begin this anti-social behavior by watching a woman talking on the phone as she sat in her BMW X6, which is the ugliest and most ridiculous consumer motor vehicle I have ever seen (my opinion; yours may differ if you have no taste, or more money than sense).
Anyways, I would have felt that I was picking on this poor taste-bereft woman had I not similarly asked other idlers to turn off their stupid cars, so I did. I'm not sure why they didn't shut off their engines unasked, truth be told; the outside temperature was very pleasant, so neither air conditioning or heat could have been called for, and I understand that the radios in modern cars work even when the motor is not running. A while ago listening to baseball on the radio we heard one of those silly "just one thing" environmental tokenism PSAs about not idling your car, and both Leah and I thought it was ridiculous. "If everyone reduces their idling time by five minutes"?! Who could even do that? Unless I'm sitting in traffic I don't idle my car that much in an entire year! (not counting warming up the engine in the winter—which I don't even have to do that much, thanks to the bicycle!). I guess we were wrong; the message is needed.
So yeah, I'm totally smugger-than-thou on this issue and cannot understand why anyone would leave their engine running a second longer than necessary with gasoline at three-and-a-half dollars a gallon. Then again, I can't understand why anyone would buy a SUV-sports car "crossover" either, and yet they continue to be made and purchased, so my views are clearly not universally held. Which I suppose already knew. But at least I saved the world three, maybe even four minutes of pointless automobile exhaust and wasted fossil fuels. And that's only this week: maybe next week I can make it five!